Saturday, December 1, 2018

Movement on Marion Car Park and at Fairview? Hearings Notice of Interest

This week City published two Hearings Notices of interest, one for the Marion Car Park, the other for a part of the Fairview project.

Marion Car Park

You might recall the previous saga, a minor fiasco even, of a foreclosure and then trying to demolish the Marion Car Park (early July 2014, late July 2014, March 2015).

They're back at the Historic Landmarks Commission, and at first glance it appears they might have a winning proposal.

Is it more than vaporware?

Hearing on the 20th
This time they're talking about a small hotel on the property. And if that's the case, if they actually build it and aren't employing a vaporware tactic, the case against demolition is much weaker.

Our appetite for parking led to demolishing
a truly historic building
Obviously the "Holman" name for a hotel is an homage to the Holman Building, and that's the thing we should have preserved.

The Marion Car Park is no great thing, and we should not greatly mourn its loss when replaced by a much higher value building.

Maybe there will be more to say once the Staff Report it out, but it would not be surprising if this time a demolition permit is secured. Maybe some claw-back or other kinds of conditions can be attached to ensure there is no lengthy period of empty gravel lot; it would be nice to insist on an approved site plan before demolition can take place, for example. But on the whole, a new hotel would be a higher use for the land and site.

About a hotel's design there will surely be more to say, but about the demolition alone, maybe not. We'll see when the Staff Report comes out. (Update - see below.)

Mountain West at Fairview

Remember the mixed-use and Village Center concepts for Sustainable Fairview?

from the most recent refinement plan (2016)
They look to be pretty much gone now.

Hearing on the 18th
On the 18th the Planning Commission will look at plans for what appears to be a cookie-cutter development of three-story walkup apartments with parking lots in the former Village Center area. It would be called "the Grove."

In 2016 a revision reduced much of the area for the Village Center, but still called it "Adaptive Use" zone (in red below). At this point, however, it sure doesn't look like the plan at hand "adapts" any building at all.

A more schematic view (also 2016)

Site plan for 3-story walkups (roughly the red area above)

The original Village Center concept (2004)
"pedestrian-oriented" and mixed-use
Without more information it's premature to pass much judgement, but on the surface it looks like a substantial dilution, or perhaps even erasure, of several of the key concepts for the Fairview project. In the "Class 2 Adjustment" part there are 12 separate requests for adjustment. It's surprising a new Refinement Plan is not part of the current round of process, as the adjustments may very well be more than merely fiddling on the edges and constitute more substantial change, especially when they are considered as a totality and not severally. Those "incremental" adjustments add up.

At the same time, the Managing Partner for the project passed away this summer, the project had struggled, and selling off part of it for more immediate and conventional development could provide the cash that enables the remaining part to be developed in a more "sustainable" and urban mode. (Life's always more complicated.)

The Staff Report will be very interesting!

This one will almost certainly merit further comment closer to the Hearing date.

Update, December 13th

The Staff Report is out on the Marion Car Park demolition and hotel concept and recommends approval with a couple of conditions.

Two conditions
One is a historic interpretive sign for the site, and the other is that any demolition permit not be issued until after the formal design review has been submitted, helping to ensure against the vaporware tactic.

This would be a satisfactory outcome.

Additionally, it's interesting in the proposal to note that the whole second floor is parking, with the rooms only starting on the third floor. There's also a small parking area on the first floor, but it's all wrapped by sidewalk retail/commercial space. The driveway would be off the alley.

Update 2, January 5th, 2019

On Fairview, here are some brief notes on the Staff Report and since that hearing was continued, that post will also be updated.

Update 3, July 16th, 2019

Looks like the demolition permit has been issued - and formal design review submitted.

via Twitter


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The SJ has a story this evening with more on the hotel proposed for the Marion Car Park site:

'Portland developers hope to build a $43 million hotel in downtown Salem, if they can raise enough money through a so-called opportunity zone that gives investors tax breaks to help pay for economic development projects.

The proposal "is for a 123-room hotel, with a lobby bar and a rooftop bar"....

Sturgeon said to build the Salem hotel, they need to raise $25 million through the qualified opportunity fund. The rest they can drum up through other sources.

Investors have until March 31 to commit money. "We have had money committed," Sturgeon said, though she declined to disclose how much "because it's a securities offering."

So at this point the hotel is rather more speculative than firmly planned.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated on Marion Car Park/hotel concept with clip from Staff Report, which recommends approval for demolition with conditions.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with link to notes on the Fairview project.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The Marion Car Park demolition was approved on a unanimous vote and the Staff Report's recommendations adopted without amendment.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

And it looks like demolition has started. Updated with clip.